Helps to get in tune with people

Karl Terry

Before the days of digital radios the device had to be tuned in precisely to the station or what you heard didn’t sound right. As fast as our lives are these days sometimes big parts are out of tune.

I got to thinking about this the other day when a co-worker came in after a test drive in a brand new car with all new engine at our dealership. Because he’d been around engines and machinery all his life his report included exactly how many RPMs the vehicle showed on the tachometer and different speeds.

How hard the engine is working to do the job you’re asking of it has a direct influence on how much fuel it uses and possibly how quickly it will wear.

Growing up, whenever I was learning to drive a truck or piece of equipment for my dad he always told what the tachometer should be reading when I got the manure spreader truck or tractor lined out and going down the row or road. If you drove past him or pulled up next to him you quickly found out if anything wasn’t going right with what you were driving because he was very in tune to the sound of the equipment.

It always amazed me how well dialed-in he was to whatever he was operating, he shifted gears by the sound and feel of the engine and transmission and knew instantly when something wasn’t right.

I eventually acquired this trait of in-tuneness as a newspaper pressman. I could tell by listening, feeling and observation where problems were occurring and correct them before they got bad and caused a web break or paper jam.

Hunters and fishers can also benefit greatly from tuning into the rhythms of nature. A fish taking a bait, fly or lure is often subtle. My grandfather for instance, knew and taught me that a sudden slack in the line could mean a fish. Big game watching in a direction (other than yours) can mean other animals, possibly a big buck, are coming in from that direction.

While knowing innately how well your car or the equipment you operate all the time and knowing what the game you’re pursuing is doing without actually seeing them comes in pretty handy. But we all would benefit even more if we worked at staying in tune with the people around us. My wife and I in most aspects of our life are very in tune with each other but I confess I occasionally miss, or intentionally ignore signals she gives off that would make us even closer.

Other family members, coworkers, customers and friends could likely benefit if I spent a little more time getting in touch with what they’re really saying. It’s easy to ignore the static, what I should be doing is tuning in the station.